Home Foreclosures Remain at Lowest Level in More Than 20 Years

Paul Ausick

The share of home mortgage loan payments that are 30 days or more past due fell to 3.6% in May, remaining at its lowest level in more than 20 years. Month over month, the overall delinquency rate was unchanged but it has declined by 0.6 points since May 2018. The foreclosure inventory rate fell from 0.5% to 0.4% year over year, again a 20-year low.

The foreclosure rate remains below the average pre-crisis level of 0.6%. The May percentage of delinquent loans peaked at 11.4% in 2010, and since March of 2018, the overall delinquency rate in each month has been lower than it was in the pre-housing-crisis period between 2000 and 2006 when the average was 4.7%.

CoreLogic reported the data in its Loan Performance Insights report for May published on Tuesday. Early-stage delinquencies, defined as 30 to 59 days past due, decreased from 1.8% to 1.7% year over year in May. The share of mortgages that were 60 to 89 days past due was 0.6%, unchanged compared with last year’s rate. According to CoreLogic, measuring early-stage delinquency rates is important for analyzing the health of the mortgage market.

The share of mortgages that transitioned from current to 30 days past due was 0.8% in May 2019, unchanged compared to a year ago. This year’s rate remains below the transition rate of 1.2% just before the housing crisis struck and well below the peak rate of 2% in November 2008.

Serious delinquency rates (defined as 90 days or more past due) fell from 1.8% in May 2018 to 1.3% this past May, below the average for the pre-crisis period of 2000 through 2006. Serious delinquency rates declined in 49 states during the month and were unchanged in the other.

CoreLogic’s chief economist, Dr. Frank Nothaft, said:

Growth in family income and home prices continues to support low delinquency rates. Communities that experienced a rise in delinquencies are generally those that also suffered from natural disasters. Last year’s hurricanes and wildfires, and this spring’s severe flooding from heavy rainstorms and snowmelt have pushed delinquency rates higher in these impacted communities.

Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, added:

While the rest of the country experienced record-low mortgage delinquency rates again in May, the Midwest and parts of the Southeast are still experiencing higher rates as they recover from extreme weather. Areas in Kentucky and Ohio, which were hit particularly hard this spring with historic flooding, experienced some of the largest annual gains in the country.

Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed-rate loan remained flat at 3.64% on Tuesday as yields on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 1.64% on Monday.

Among the nation’s largest cities, New York (4.9%) and Miami (4.7%) have the highest rate of mortgages at least 30 days past due. San Francisco had the lowest rate, 1.2%.

The states with the highest rates of mortgages at least 30 days past due are Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Alabama and West Virginia, all with rates above 5% compared to the national average of 3.6%. The states with the lowest rates of mortgages at least 30 days past due are North Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Colorado, all with rates of around 2% or below.